|Structure of Names|
Articles > Names
By the turn of the millennium, the inherited family name was the typical
surname in the Roman Empire. A person's name consisted of a given name
followed by one or more surnames, which came in three varieties: inherited
family name, patronymic, and by-name. Patronymics were extremely rare in
this period, but by-names were common additions to a person's name. The
last name in a string of family names is usually the one inherited from
that person's father, though those which might come between the given and
last name are in no particular order. Following the last name, or sometimes
in place of it, might come a by-name.
A typical masculine name during this period would look like either
where his given name is Ioannes (John), the family name he has taken from his father is Laskaris, and Doukas indicates that either his mother, one of his grandparents, or one of his great-grandparents was a Doukai.
If Ioannes had made a name for himself on campaign, he might be known as
or, if his exploits were particularly well known, as
or, if his exploits were of legendary proportions, simply as
Women's names were constructed similarly. Women would carry their father's last name as their own, and might also carry family names from either their father's or mother's genealogy as middle names. All of these family names would be feminized. When a woman married, she would take her husband's last name, either replacing or appending it to her own. She might also add names from her husband's genealogy.
A typical woman's name during this period would look like:
If she married Ioannes, her name might become:
with Angelina, Palaiologina, and Doukaina in any order, or perhaps any one not there at all.
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